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Noah Fense 'pops-off' on hip-hop 

click to enlarge Noah Fense and his band perform at Winter Sizzler 3 at Flour City Station. - PHOTO BY CHRIS BEIKIRCH
  • Noah Fense and his band perform at Winter Sizzler 3 at Flour City Station.
Rochester rap artist Noah Fense was tired of the hip-hop and electronic music concert scenes. One seemed to blend into another.

“It’s the same people every time,” Fense said. “There’s no lights or visuals or art around. Everyone’s just drinking beers and sniffing drugs and partying.”

He had his own vision for the events.

“I feel like when you have the art and the vendors, and you put thought into the lighting and all these things, people act different,” he said.

That’s why he and his Foresee Collective created a new concert series called “The Pop-Off!” combining music from hip-hop artists and DJs with live painting and art vendors.

Vol. 3 in the series, which takes place Oct. 21 at Photo City Music Hall, is a Halloween edition with tarot readers and a visual aesthetic created with Fense’s graphic designer brother Ethan Beers, aka Pink Boy. The featured musicians include Fense, Stevie Xolo, DJ Atlas.B, and ThankUQuata.

click to enlarge Noah Fense. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Noah Fense.
“I’ve been to some rap concerts that are just incredible,” Fense said. “The person is really pouring their soul into it and they really care, and then I’ve been to some where it’s really all about the ego. It’s more about them and not about the audience, is what I’ve experienced.

“I want to create something that allows a very clean and proper presentation for hip-hop artists I believe in.”

Pop-up shows were also an inspiration to Fense in creating “The Pop-Off!” He liked the combination of musicians and vendors at the same event, but he wanted to elevate that environment to create a kind of indoor music festival with quality sound.

For Fense, the festival experience isn’t just about promoting a collaborative vibe, but also about generating a spiritual environment in which everyone feels connected.

“I think when you walk into a venue that has art all around, people are all vibrant,” Fense said. “It just changes the collective consciousness of the space, and then we all co-create something.”

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY's arts editor. He can be reached at

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